‘Jukebox’ handed two-match Eagles ban

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MENZIE Yere is out of Sheffield Eagles crucial play-off game against Widnes Vikings after being hit with a two-match ban.

The burly centre was found guilty of making a dangerous contact with a “head slam” tackle, by a Rugby Football League disciplinary committee last night.

It’s a major setback to the Eagles hopes of winning through to the Grand Final with Yere the team’s top try scorer with 20 this season.

The ban sidelines Yere for the must-win clash with Widnes at Bramall Lane on Friday, kick-off 7.45pm. He would also be out of the second elimination round if the Eagles beat Widnes.

Coach Mark Aston, who attended the disciplinary hearing in Leeds, feels that Yere has been harshly treated.

He said: “I’m very disappointed. I would question that this was a ‘head shot’ or a dangerous tackle. The first contact was with the shoulder and then the arm went up.

“We need Menzie but he won’t be in the team unless we make the semi-final.”

Yere was put on report by the referee after a tackle on Jon Hepworth in the final minute of the game against Featherstone Rovers last month. Hepworth later needed treatment for suspected concussion.

The disciplinary committee found Yere guilty of a Grade B dangerous contact offence “for driving the head of an opponent into the ground in an unsafe manner”. As well as the two-match ban he was fined £50. Papua New Guinea international Yere has a reputation as one of the hardest tacklers in the game. The Australian media have nicknamed him ‘Jukebox’ because of his big hits.

Yere said the tackle was “perfectly good” and added: “I don’t think the ban is fair.”

As it is a play-off game, supporters have to pay ‘on the gate’ but Eagles and Sheffield United junior season ticket holders get free entry on production of their season ticket.